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25 Essential Weather Terms You Need to Know

Weather Conditions & Terminology | Weather forecasting |

25 Essential Weather Terms You Need to Know

At Climavision, we combine science with technology to provide innovative forecasting solutions. A lot of what we are doing and creating isn’t standard – we’re pushing the limits of cutting edge. Below is a list of definitions that may help you better understand the problems were solving and how we are solving them.

  1. AI
  2. Cloud Platform
  3. CONUS
  4. Dual-polarimetric (Dual-Pol) Radar
  5. Ensemble Weather Forecast
  6. European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF)
  7. Global Forecast System (GFS)
  8. Global Radio Occultation (GPS-RO)
  9. GRIB
  10. High Performance Computing (HPC)
  11. HRRR (High Resolution Rapid Refresh)
  12. Long-range Forecast
  13. Lower Atmosphere
  14. Machine Learning
  15. Mathematical Model
  16. Medium-range Forecast
  17. NEXRAD or Nexrad (Next-Generation Radar)
  18. North American Mesoscale Forecast System (NAM)
  19. Nowcasting
  20. Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP)
  21. Observational Datasets
  22. Point Forecasting
  23. Short-range Forecast
  24. User Interface (UI)
  25. Weather Forecasting


AI which stands for artificial intelligence refers to systems or machines that mimic human intelligence to perform tasks and can iteratively improve themselves based on the information they collect. AI, specifically Climavision’s tech platform and generative AI, allows us to scale everything – from the amount of data that can be digested to the increased speed we deliver our forecasts and radar visualizations to our partners.

cloud platform

A cloud platform refers to the operating system and hardware of a server in an Internet-based data center. It allows software and hardware products to co-exist remotely and at scale. Our revolutionary system harnesses the benefits of a cloud platform to digest large amounts of data and deliver faster, more accurate forecasts.


The continental U.S., or CONUS, is the 48 connected states and District of Columbia. OCONUS is outside the continental U.S.1km nested domain.

Dual-polarimetric (Dual-Pol) Radar

Dual-polarimetric (Dual-Pol) radar transmits and receives pulses in both a horizontal and vertical orientation. As a result, the returning frequencies provide measurements of the horizontal and vertical dimensions of targets, supplying forecasters with better estimates of the size, shape, and variety of targets. An example of dual pol radars is Climavision’s radar network

Ensemble Weather Forecast

An ensemble weather forecast is a set of forecasts that present the range of future weather possibilities. Multiple simulations are run, each with a slight variation of its initial conditions and with slightly perturbed weather models.

European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF)

The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) is both a research institute and a 24/7 operational service, producing and disseminating numerical weather predictions to its Member States. This data is fully available to the national meteorological services in the Member States.

Global Forecast System (GFS)

The Global Forecast System (GFS) is a National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) weather forecast model.

Global Radio Occultation (GPS-RO)

Global Radio Occultation (GPS-RO) is a type of radio occultation that relies on radio transmissions from GPS (Global Positioning System), or more generally from GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System), satellites. Climavision uses this as an additional, unique weather observation data source to better predict weather events.


GRIB stands for “General Regularly distributed Information in Binary form” and is a WMO (World Meteorological Organization) standard format for archiving and exchanging gridded data. GRIB is a binary format, and the data is packed to increase storage efficiency. GRIB messages are often concatenated together to form a GRIB file. GRIB files usually have the extension: .grib, .grb or .gb. This is a standard format for delivering our data.

High Performance Computing (HPC)

High performance computing (HPC) is the ability to process data and perform complex calculations at high speeds. This is at the heart of what our tech platform does to achieve the high resolution data our customers need at high speeds.

HRRR (High Resolution Rapid Refresh)

The HRRR (High Resolution Rapid Refresh) is a regional weather model for North America made by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the US (NOAA). It provides a great forecast for the continental United Stated, Canada and Mexico based on radar data.

Long-range Forecast

A Long-range forecast includes 8-14 day outlooks, monthly outlooks, and seasonal outlooks. Climavision’s GRO model or PFS can also produce this type of forecast.

Lower Atmosphere

The lower atmosphere is a collective term sometimes used to refer to various layers of the atmosphere of the Earth and corresponding regions of the atmospheres of other planets, and includes:

  • The troposphere, which on Earth extends from the surface to an altitude of about 12 kilometres (7.5 mi)
  • The stratosphere, which on Earth lies between the altitudes of about 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) and 50 kilometres (31 mi), is sometimes considered part of the “middle atmosphere” rather than the lower atmosphere.

The lower atmosphere is the area where a lot of convective weather occurs. Unfortunately, due to mountains and other interfering geographical features, the National Weather Service’s radar network (NEXRAD) can reach the lower atmosphere entirely. This is where Climavision’s radar network comes into supplement coverage and fill those lower atmosphere data voids.

Machine Learning

Machine Learning is the use and development of computer systems that are able to learn and adapt without following explicit instructions, by using algorithms and statistical models to analyze and draw inferences from patterns in data. Machine learning is a very important aspect of not only our tech platform but also our AI forecasting capabilities.

Mathematical Model

A mathematical model is a description of a system using mathematical concepts and language. The process of developing a mathematical model is termed mathematical modeling. A model may help to explain a system and to study the effects of different components, and to make predictions about behavior. An example of some models are Climavision’s Horizon AI Global and Horizon AI HIRES models – created to more accurately predict weather events.

Medium-range Forecast

A Medium-range forecast is a forecast for a period extending from about three days to seven days in advance. A good example of this type of forecast can be generated by Climavision’s Horizon AI Global model or Horizon AI Point forecast.


NEXRAD or Nexrad (Next-Generation Radar) is a network of 160 high-resolution S-band Doppler weather radars operated by the National Weather Service (NWS), an agency of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Climavision’s Radar Network supplements the already existing, best in class NEXRAD network

North American Mesoscale Forecast System

The North American Mesoscale Forecast System (NAM) is one of the National Centers For Environmental Prediction’s (NCEP) major models for producing weather forecasts. NAM generates multiple grids (or domains) of weather forecasts over the North American continent at various horizontal resolutions.


Nowcasting is the description of the current state of the weather in detail and the prediction of changes that can be expected on a timescale of a few hours.

Numerical Weather Prediction

Numerical weather prediction (NWP) uses mathematical models of the atmosphere and oceans to predict the weather based on current weather conditions. Climavision’s weather scientist are harnessing a new approach to NWP to predict weather events more accurately.

Observational Datasets

Observational datasets provide scientists with a range of insights, from the microphysics of cloud formation to the impacts of a changing climate. The more data sets we have, the more accurate our prediction of future weather events will be. This is why Climavision is developing new and unique data sets sources like our proprietary weather radar network.

Point Forecasting

Point forecasting is a forecast for a specific point on the forecasted grid. It is used mostly for weather apps which users check to see the weather (temperature, precipitation probability) for their location. Climavision’s Horizon AI Point model is powered by proprietary data inputs and AI bias correction to create highly accurate forecasts around the globe.

Short-range Forecast

A Short-range forecast is a weather forecast made for a period of generally less than six hours. Such a forecast can be produced by Climavision’s Horizon AI Point or Horizon AI HIRES models.

User Interface

The user interface (UI) is the point of human-computer interaction and communication in a device. It is also the way through which a user interacts with an application or a website. A map-based user interface, therefore, is an interface that communicates data to a website or app user through a map visualization. Examples of a map-based user interface are Climavision’s DASH and RADIUS platforms.

Weather Forecasting

Weather forecasting is the application of science and technology to predict the conditions of the atmosphere for a given location and time. This is at the heart of what Climavision was created for – providing faster more accurate forecasting to help business and communities make better informed decisions. Our Horizon AI Forecasting product suite encompasses several weather forecasting solutions to fit specific needs.